A new report takes a look at the myriad threats faced by those in the healthcare field and how the current regulatory landscape fails to offer adequate safeguards for these persons. Understanding the trend will be vital to limiting injuries in the future.
Public Citizen conducted a study that found healthcare workers are more susceptible to an injury or an illness than those in any other field, including those in high-risk industries like construction. In fact, the second most dangerous profession, the manufacturing sector, trailed healthcare’s 654,000 injuries by a whopping 152,000 injuries in 2010.
Those injuries incurred by people in the manufacturing and construction industries tended to be more serious on the whole, and fatalities were indeed more common. But injuries to healthcare workers shouldn’t be underestimated. Workers can be poked with a needle, exposed to latex and other substances they could be allergic to, put in a room with a violent patient, or sustain musculoskeletal issues due to the repeated lifting of equipment and patients alike.
The latter issue is particularly alarming given just how prevalent those injuries are. Lifting injuries and repetitive motion stress are incredibly common, largely due to a lack of standards at healthcare facilities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s National Emphasis Program was designed to combat these types of injuries but has thus far been shown to be lacking.
The study points to budget woes as shackling OSHA’s ability to conduct the number of inspections needed to improve safety in the healthcare field.